Story Rating: 4.25 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars
Narrator: Michael Dean
Length: 8 hours, 9 minutes
Gideon is a centuries old vampire who has channeled all his abilities and passion into being a protector, inadvertently joining Logan’s pack as the Oracle has brought them all together. He also fell in love once, long ago, and had his heart broken. Gideon’s vowed to never let anyone in again. Of course, through circumstances, Taj—the incubus who broke his heart—is back in his life. But something is definitely off.
Taj was banished to the human realm before the realms were closed, but he had no resources or know how. Fortunately, he met a human, Erich, who not only gave Taj stability, but taught him how to survive. They are inseparable best friends and Erich is the only constant in Taj’s life. When Gideon reappears and their lives intertwine, Taj has to take Erich into account for all that he does.
But there are nefarious beings at work, and Taj and Erich’s new job isn’t all that it seems on the surface. Desperate to stand on his own, Taj doesn’t want to fall into the habit of letting Gideon take over and make things better. But when danger comes knocking, Taj and Gideon are thrown together and they can no longer deny what their hearts want: each other.
This is the second book in the Chosen Champions series and needs to be read after Logan. Though the series can, technically, be read apart from the rest of the Chosen One Universe, this series definitely needs to be read in order as the events build with each book. Blake laid the groundwork in the first book, and both MCs were introduced, as was the tension between them. This only adds to the anticipation of this store. There are also cameos from other characters throughout the rest of the universe, and while it’s not strictly necessary to have read those books in order to understand this one, there is extra nuance and appreciation if you have.
This book is classic Blake in that we have both the storyline of two lovers reconnecting, healing past hurts and expanding their love, coupled with the mounting danger facing the human realm and the pack, at the direction of the Oracle. I’m always a sucker for reunited lovers, and Gideon and Taj hit all the best marks here. They crashed and burned years ago and hurt each other in the process. Both men have grown and changed since then, with Taj having made the biggest changes, some against his will. But Blake does a great job showing that, at their core, the MCs haven’t changed, and that their love for one another endures.
What I really liked about Gideon and Taj’s romance was that they work through a lot of their old hurts and misconceptions in order to have a much stronger relationship this time around. As I said, Taj has changed the most, and a big part of that is being trapped in the human realm and how that’s affected him. Taj just about broke my heart, as he’s been through a lot and stuff just keeps happening to him. I was so glad when he finally let Gideon back in, and though he couldn’t tell Gideon everything, the vampire is a stalwart presence in Taj’s life. Gideon wants nothing more to fix Taj’s life for him, but instead supports him in the only ways he can. I really enjoyed these two and their progression to falling in love again.
Of course, there is a much more nefarious plot afoot and the twist and turns it takes kept me involved in the story. I will be vague here, as I don’t want to give anything away. I will say that nothing is what it seems, but it’s clear that something incredibly bad is going on. The pack, of course, is mixed up in it and they are working to find out how to stop it. There’s some nice resolution to immediate plot points, but this book ends with a lot more questions than answers and clearly segues into the next book in the series.
I’ve really enjoyed listening to this series, and the universe books as a whole, because Michael Dean does a really great job as narrator. For me, these books are even more emotionally impactful with the listening, and I think Dean improves with every one I listen to. The narrator is really dialing into character nuances, as well as emotional ones, and it elevates the books for me. If you’re an audio fan, then I definitely say pick these books up.